Doctors Use E-Prescriptions to Improve Patient Compliance

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Physicians know just because they give patients a prescription, that doesn't mean medication will take them correctly -- or at all. There are a number of reasons for poor patient compliance and the latest generation of EMR software addresses many of these problems.

The Problem of Non-Compliance:

It is hard to treat a patient who won't take prescribed medication. It may not be that the patient is intentionally being difficult. Often there are other reasons involved.

Patients may stop medication because they feel better, not understanding that to stay better they need to keep taking the pills. A patient might not have time to wait at the pharmacy today so plans to pick up the prescription tomorrow, but then forgets or gets busy and never gets around to it.

Maybe there is a negative side effect and, rather than calling the doctor, the patient simply stops taking the drug. In many cases, these incidents can lead to serious medical complications. What's worse, often the patients will neglect to tell the doctor about the stopped medication leaving the physician baffled as to why the person isn't getting better.

How can EMR software and associated e-prescription services help this problem?

E-Prescriptions Make It Easier For the Patient:

Filling prescriptions through e-prescription feature of EMR software help patient compliance immediately. The prescription is transmitted directly to the pharmacy and is ready by the time the patient arrives. With many pharmacies offering drive-up service, it is easy to pick up the needed medication and patients have one less excuse to avoid the medication.

Clearly printed e-prescriptions help both pharmacy and patient. The pharmacy doesn't have to puzzle out sloppy, hand-written orders so don't need to call the doctor's office for clarification, a step that slows the process. The patient receives written instructions, including important cautions such as telling the patient to keep taking the medication upon feeling better, so it is more likely the drug will be taken as the doctor intended.

Doctors Can Monitor Patient Compliance:

Medical students learn that a patient statement is one of the least reliable sources of information. A patient who has stopped taking medication may not tell the doctor, perhaps through embarrassment or a desire to avoid a confrontation. Some patients change their dose on their own, not informing the doctor when they do so.

EMR software gives doctors the ability to monitor a patients compliance. The doctor can check to see a patient has picked up the medication and, if not, contact the patient for more information. A doctor could note the prescription is refilled more or less often than expected, indicating the patient is taking a different dose than ordered. The office can verify the correct drug has been dispensed, protecting patient safety.

Doctors are using EMR software and e-prescriptions to improve patient care as well as improving the efficiency and profitability of the practice.

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